Libya: One Month After Floods, Uncertain Human Toll

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One month ago, on the night of September 10th to 11th, Hurricane Daniel and dam explosions caused unprecedented floods in Libya. The city of Derna in the East of the country awoke to nearly a quarter of its buildings destroyed, thousands of casualties, and chaos. Soon after, alarming and conflicting figures circulated regarding the human toll. Initially, reports spoke of 10,000 deaths, but today, only 4,000 bodies have been recovered.

The day after the disaster, rescuers discovered 1,500 lifeless bodies. However, at the time, the Libyan representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the global volunteer organization, estimated the number of victims to be 10,000, later rising to 11,300 in the following days.

Information collection on the ground remains chaotic. Even the UN cannot confirm these figures, according to a UN official in Libya.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivered 6,000 body bags to Libyan rescuers, but it is impossible to determine if they have all been used, the international organization reports.

One undeniable fact, one month after the devastating floods, is that just over 4,000 people have been buried, according to Eastern Libyan authorities. These numbers have been confirmed by the WHO (World Health Organization). However, many are still missing, with at least 8,500 residents unaccounted for. The human toll could, therefore, rise to nearly 13,000 victims.

Among the survivors, 40,000 have sought refuge in schools or neighboring towns. According to OCHA (the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), 250,000 people require humanitarian assistance.


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